The first Asia/Pacific American Heritage Week was held by Proclamation of President Carter to be the week of May 4, 1979. For the next ten years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush issued a proclamation that the entire months of May 1991 and May 1992 be designated Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. In 1992, a new law was passed that permanently designated May of each year as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
I’m taking this opportunity (a couple days early) to highlight some books in the Kirkwood Library collection by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors. The Asia Pacific region is usually considered to include East and South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, but there can be some variation in that definition. I’ve tried to include books by authors from throughout these regions. If you have suggestions for books by Pacific Island authors please let me know – this list is pretty light on those titles. Some of these books are older and some are newer. They’re fiction and nonfiction; ebooks and videos. Click the title for a catalog link for more information and to see if the book is currently available for checkout.
Minor Feelings: A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition by Cathy Park Hong, Call Number: 305.488 H772m
The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman., Call Number: 305.8 G646 includes essays from writers/immigrants from around the world – not just Asia/Pacific Islands.
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, Call Number: 371.782 M647k
Soft Science by Franny Choi, Call Number: 811.6 C545s explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness
M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang, Call Number: 812.54 H991m the text of the 1988 Tony Award-winning play
The Holder of the World by Bharati Mukherjee, Call Number: 813.54 M953h
Red Azalea by Anchee Min, Call Number: 951.05 M663r. Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace by Le Ly Hayslip, Call Number: 959.704 H425w
Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of the War by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Call Number: 959.704 N576n. Also by this author, The Sympathizer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Call Number: 813.6 N576s
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girl Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston, Call Number: 979.4 K555w
The Leavers: A Novel by Lisa Ko, Call Number: Popular Books KO
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Call Number: Popular Books NG. Also by this author, Everything I Never Told You Iowa City Campus Call Number: English Language Acquisition Popular Books 004 N576e
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Call Number: Popular Books TAK. A graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II
On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Call Number: Popular Books VUO
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang, Iowa City Campus Call Number: Popular Books ZHA
Asian Americans – PBS Series. This 5-video series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, and cultural innovation. It is a timely look at the role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation. This series is available from our subscription to Films on Demand so will only be available to those with a current k# and password (these video may also be available to view at pbs.org – search for asian americans)
Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story: The Youngest San Quentin State Prisoner on His Road to Freedom. Paints an intimate portrait of Eddy — the prisoner, the immigrant, the son, the activist — on his journey to freedom, rehabilitation and redemption. This video is available through our Kanopy Video Streaming subscription so will only be available to those with a current k# and password. Many public libraries also subscribe to this service so you may be able to view the video through your local public library